SA/SEA Screening of Bishop's Tachbrook NDP
2. Legislative Background
2.1 The basis for Strategic Environmental Assessments and Sustainability Appraisal legislation is European Directive 2001/42/EC and was transposed into English law by the Environmental Assessment of Plans and Programmes Regulations 2004, or SEA Regulations.
2.2 Sustainability appraisal of the type that is required for development plan documents is not required for neighbourhood development plans. This is because they are not 'Local Plans', or development plan documents as defined by the 2004 Planning Act. Neighbourhood development plans have their own designation: they are neighbourhood development plans produced by qualifying bodies under the Localism Act. Even when a neighbourhood development plan is made by a local authority following a successful referendum, and it becomes part of the development plan it does not change its designation into a development plan document (this does not mean it has any less status in terms of decision making though).
2.3 .Whether a neighbourhood plan requires a strategic environmental assessment, and (if so) the level of detail needed, will depend on what is proposed in the draft neighbourhood plan. A strategic environmental assessment may be required, for example where:
- a neighbourhood plan allocates sites for development
- the neighbourhood plan area contains sensitive natural or heritage assets that may be affected by the proposals in the plan
- the neighbourhood plan may have significant environmental effects that have not already been considered and dealt with through a sustainability appraisal of the Local Plan for the area.